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Today in VA, it is Monday. I prefer Thursdays but, whatever, you play the hand you’re dealt.

I was up too late last night, which means I am already updated on the latest social media posts from everyone I know, so I have nothing new to read while I growl at my coffee. I decide to look at Pinterest, but not ALL of Pinterest, just the Humor tab. (Or, Humour , if you prefer; apparently they’ll let anyone in.) I just need a few minutes of entertainment and learning how to make penguin-shaped fruit baskets in the kitchen that I should have remodeled with chalkboard paint and fabric-covered cereal boxes, after I cleaned it with lemon peel and kitten tears, is just more than I can bear at this early hour.


I scroll through, reasonably entertained and stumble across a few memes that cause me to actually LOL. I chuckled. Out loud. (This would be the perfect application of the word literally )

But, I couldn’t help it. I can totally see my grandma in this meme:
Please pardon the language in some of these pictures. I could black it out, but the tone would be lost and, well, we’re all adults here. Suck it up, Buttercup.

I also giggled at a strip of dog-shaming pictures. This is where people write notes about the terrible offenses their pets have committed and make the animal wear the note whilst having the picture taken.

It’s funnier if you read it in a “doggy voice”.

I finally realized that my Monday was going to be fine when I saw this:

I’m still laughing and I’m still not sure why…

So, I congratulate myself for laughing out loud before 7am on a Monday; it can only get better from here.
The next strip is a story about a guy who had three days to live, so he got to go watch a training camp with his favorite weird European sports team and then they made a giant poster of him and everyone stood up and sang his favorite song and then he died.

Well, that’s a buzzkill. Still, it’s early on a Monday and if I actually bothered to pin anything in Pinterest, I might mis-categorize something every now and then… So I’ll let it slide.
But THEN… I see a strip with still shots from the saddest part of every Disney movie EVER.

I keep scrolling, waiting for a punch line that never comes. Are you kidding me?? This is not humor, it’s torture. Forget that I could have read the other side of the screen and followed a tutorial on how to make a DIY marshmallow launcher, I had already seen this cruel display. Throwing down some dead Bambi Mama at 0645? That could literally kill a person. (Maybe. It could definitely almost figuratively kill a person.)
There should be repercussions for this kind of thing. My Monday is shot.



Due to my scrambled need for everything to have a tidy ending, I wish to inform you that our MidWestern tour ended without a BANG.
Thank The Lord.
We spent the second half of the trip in the Galena/Dubuque area, visiting the in-laws. The kids each got to take a turn driving Grandpa’s pontoon boat:


…and we learned how to play the marine version of musical chairs every time Jeff and his dad got interested in something off the back, or over the side.

A well balanced boat is key to not capsizing, just FYI.
The kids went fishing (I declined, but I heard it was great).

We took a hike through the woods, all 13 of us. Jeff’s mom got a nice family picture at one of the overlooks. This is not that picture, but I like this picture, so this is the picture you get to see:

The highlight of the second half was the family reunion. You don’t know anything about being competitive until you hang out with these people. In addition to tons of food, the big deal is the Bean Bag Tournament, complete with bracketed divisions for Kiddie, Youth & Adult. The kids know that their parents’ love is contingent upon a trophy. (Yes, there are trophies and no, we don’t love our kids anymore.)



I’m pretty sure Jeff’s cousin has an off-season training camp for his kids. I had the play if the evening, with three bags in on one throw but, of course, no photographic evidence. I only have two hands, and the camera took a back seat to the beanbag and my beverage. Still, we ended up with second place trophies to add to the collection. At least we placed. I also made it to the Final Four in the Texas Hold ’em Tournament. I’ve got the bug now, so my brother in law had best bring his A-game next year. (*insert evil laughter*)

The trip rounded off with a nice summer rain and some really beautiful double rainbows.

The local newspaper re-tweeted the image I sent them, so I had my 15 minutes of front porch fame.

On our way out of town, we stopped at a farm to grab some Illinois sweet corn. We bought four dozen ears. (I’ll be putting up corn ALL day tomorrow.)

Unless you know the difference, you may think, “What’s the big deal?” Or, “Why would you drive 50 ears of corn across the country?” Well, I’ll show you. On the left is some corn that my kind neighbor brought over for us from his garden here in VA. On the right, is some beautiful Peaches-n-Cream IL sweet corn. In this instance, a picture is certainly worth a thousand words…



Since yesterday (out of) VA was rather mundane, let me tell you a story about how amazing I am.

I’ve come to be amazing over the course of my marriage; necessity being the mother of invention and all. Some things I can get Jeff to be flexible about and some things… eh, not so much. So when Jeff called to tell me he needed a hard copy of a fishing license, I knew it was Game Time.

Never mind that’s he’s active duty on leave (most states waive the need for a separate license) and never mind that he’s going to a private lake on someone’s personally owned property… Nope. Gotta have that $7 piece of paper.

Well, he took the initiative and went online to order the one day license, only to find out that the printer wasn’t working. He calls me while I am out getting a MUCH needed pedi (I’ll spare you the before/after pictures, just in case you’re reading this over lunch), to apprise me of the situation.
Jeff: Hey, I can’t print this off and I need it in the morning.
Me: No worries, honey, I’ll swing by Staples on my way home and print a copy. Just email it to me.
Jeff: Awesome! Thanks, babe. You’re the best, most beautiful wife on Earth. I am so lucky to have such a fabulous wife. Also, you have pretty feet.
(Or something like that.)
Problem solved.
20130718-224752.jpg However, when we got to Staples, they were closed. 20130719-092937.jpg
Turns out, there must not be much demand for business services on Saturday evenings in Smalltown, USA. They closed at 8. BUT, across the street are the glowing beams of a CVS Pharmacy.20130719-095238.jpg
The time is now 8:47. We can do this.
I have a plan; I can’t print an email, but I can print a picture. Amazing.
I should point out that I am deserving of a Nobel Prize nomination (not a win, just a nod), for thinking outside the box and creatively solving the problem.
Knowing that I have under 13 minutes to complete the process, I waste no time and head straight to the photo counter.20130719-122337.jpg
Step 1: locate Kodak Kiosk.

Step 2: go through 37 prompts, only to realize the process requires an app.

Step 3: search phone for Kodak Kiosk App.

Step 4: wait, as the minutes tick by, for painfully slow in-store wifi to install Kodak Kiosk App.

Step 5: find email from Jeff with fishing license attachment.

Step 6: open email, download fishing license .pdf and take a screen shot, so image of license is saved in the camera roll.

Step 7: open Kodak Kiosk App and connect iPhone app to in-store kiosk.


Step 8: enter store wifi password:

Step 9: realize, after three attempts, that this is the actual wifi name, not the password. Go back to start and enter password: rrrrrrrgttr3.

Step 10: giggle about funny Pirate Password.

Step 11: Success Screen prompts upload of image from camera to app and from app to kiosk.

Step 12: finally see image of fishing license in Kodak Kiosk Screen. Scroll through 37 pages of editing options, auto enhancers and red-eye reducers for the fishing license.

Step 13: click submit.
Agree to terms.
Yes to proceed.
Yes, I’m sure.
I’m positive.
No, really, I mean it.

Step 14: confirm with sales clerk that the intention was, in fact, to print immediately.

Step 15: scrounge bottom of purse for 29 cents to pay for single, glossy, 4×6 image of screenshot of .pdf of State of Missouri Fishing License.

Step 16: emerge from CVS, victoriously, at 8:59 pm. Mission Accomplished.

After-action brief covers highlights of complicated, multi-step printing process. Emphasis on how many steps there were and how funny pirate jokes arrrrrrre. Concludes with presentation of shiny picture and confirmation that this is more than just a picture, it’s a ticket to YouOweMeOne-Ville.


We’ve been out of VA for a week now. Aside from the ribbing I have taken for our road trip process, the week has been fantastic.
We’ve spent good quality time with friends and family,


…took a really cool ride on a Mississippi Riverboat,


…caught some fireworks >20130717-222709.jpg
…and watched a great hometown baseball game.

Oh, and we saw a REALLY fat cat.

Today begins our second week “on tour”.

More family, more adventures and more stories await. Wish me luck!


This episode of EveryDayInVA: Road Trip Edition is brought to you by the letter “W”, for:

The scene:
We’re sitting on the front porch, enjoying a nice breeze, watching the world go by.
The conversation:
Bounces from the neighbor’s hibiscus, to the other neighbor’s recycle bins ending up on their roof, next to their lawn chair, to the other neighbor being an inconsiderate jerk for parking his truck where it blocks the sidewalk so the old people taking their walks have to go out in the street….

Then the conversation turns to Duck Commander antics, followed by my Dad dropping a bomb:
“You know, it’s about stupid, but have you ever seen that Honey Boo Boo show? Yeah, I like it, that’s some funny stuff.”
Again, I say to you:

20130711-101914.jpg MY Dad said that. He meant it. Now, I’m torn between telling him that he should never say things like that out loud… and telling the story to everyone on the interwebz. But since, as far as I know, Dad doesn’t read my blog, we can all giggle quietly behind our hands at his expense.

PS: Daddy, if you ever read this, remember I love you. Oh, and remember that time I drove out to Steak N Shake to get you breakfast tacos… and that time, when I was 12, and I raked the leaves without being asked…

7/9/13 (Roadtrip, part two.)

We are far from VA, today. After last night’s drama, we were looking forward to getting this “vacation” back on track.

I volunteered to take the Family Mobile to the car wash. REALLY should have taken pictures of that ordeal. The clumps of mud and grass and rocks and debris that came out from around my tires, skid plate and various other underneath parts that I don’t know the names for, could’ve built a lovely house for some third world country family.

$6 of self service power washing, $15 of “Super Triple Foam Express Wash” and four gas stations plus a truck stop later (looking for tire air), I get back to the hotel. Covered in wet and mud from head to toe, I go straight to the front desk to ask for leniency on the check out time so that I can get a shower. The manager comes rushing around and grabs my arm, asking “My God, honey! Are you ok?! Did you get beat up??!”
I explain the chain of events and find myself immediately propelled to the center of her Crusade For Better Signage. She escorted me down to the construction site and introduced me to the foreman and the owner of the hotel as an “accident victim”. I told the story about winding up in the ditch last night, they comp’d my room, I got a shower and a late check out and this show was back on the road!

We made it out of Ohio!!

But then…

Looks like I’ll be hearing about this for a looooong time. We had been traveling through Indiana on four lanes of open highway in the middle of nowhere. (I know, it seems redundant to tell you that we were in the middle of nowhere, right after I told you we were in Indiana, but we were getting close to Indianapolis, so I thought I should clarify.) The trooper asked if I knew why he stopped us. (It’s always about an hour later that I remember that I’m supposed to ask him if he’s selling tickets to the Policeman’s Ball. Damn! The missed opportunity!) I really wasn’t sure why he stopped us, I’d set the cruise and was driving ok. It turns out that in Indiana, they like to play Musical Speed Limits. About 2 miles before I met the Trooper, (in the pre-established middle of nowhere), the posted speed limit dropped to 55MPH and I was clocked doing 77MPH.
Some small talk about what brought us in to his state and some very tense minutes later, he brings us back a warning. A WARNING!! Can you believe it?! We were very thankful for what could only be considered divine intervention.

I dropped the Family Mobile in drive and went to pull back in to traffic, only to have my ears accosted by a terrible screeching, metal-on-metal, very expensive sounding sound. We ended up here:

The damage ended up being an easy fix and the guys at the shop were amazing, kind and refused to charge me. I had to throw dollars on the counter and run. If you’re ever in need of auto repair near Green-something, IN, East of Indianapolis, please call Moore’s!!
At our next pit stop, I had to clear the air after this terrible chain of events.
Me: You know, I hate that I was driving when these things happened. I mean, I know that makes them technically my fault, but they were total accidents and I feel really awful about it. (Sadface)
Jeff: Are you still hung up on that? It was a great adventure. The kids have some cool memories, we got to see that old tractor, looked at flying, puffy tree seeds and met some kind people who demonstrated that there is still unselfish kindness in the world. It was a great day!
Me: Hey, those woodchips are shaped like a horse.

(Checkmate. Woodchip-horse trumps squirrel.)

It’s now 9:30 PM. We have yet to reach our destination, but we’re on familiar turf. We may just make it…


7/8/13 (Roadtrip, part one)

If you happened across this blog because of any of the key words I tagged, there is really no need to read on. You’ve already got the gist.

Today, we left VA. This is the time of year that we make our pilgrimage to the land from whence we came. The land of corn and soybeans, the land of hog confinements and silos, a place where they’re faster than southerners, but more polite than Yankees. It’s the Midwest.


Just FYI: that’s the last lovely photo in this story… because this is how things went down…

We were supposed to leave at noon. Unfortunately, we were out in the field getting eaten by bugs and trying to properly space and plant these tiny specs, just so we could leave town and abandon them …making awesome family memories until midnight the night before, so I still had a pretty long to do list.
Remember this gem:

That was me around 8 AM.
As we got close to our noon-ish departure time, it was more like this:

Just kidding, it was more like this:


Not going according to plan. Of course, the pool guys showed up early, the kids are asking every five minutes if it’s time to go yet and I still have to make a detailed checklist for the Farm Sitter, so that all the creatures survive in our absence. I finally had to ask Jeff to clean out the litter box- even though he probably did it wrong. It is very stressful, this preparing to leave. We finally got on the road just before 4:00.

It was an uneventful drive and we tried to make it as far as we could. About 30 minutes from our stopping goal, it started raining and there was crazy lightning all around us. Driving through it kinda sucked, but we made it to our exit and the hotel was right off the exit. Unfortunately, the place we thought was the hotel entrance appeared to be under construction and was blocked by Orange Barrels. Sooo… We drove around on the access road looking for another way in. It took 2 seconds to realize there was no other entrance, so I started to turn around and go back, BUT, the pretty grass next to the road was actually covering some kind of quicksand and my Family Mobile slid off the road and into the ditch, coming to rest at a 45 degree angle. It wasn’t until the kids and I evacuated and stood shivering in the rain, while Jeff dropped it into “4Lo” to try and get it out, that the vehicle truly became “high centered”. Oh Joy.
We trekked up to the hotel and called roadside assistance, explained where we were and waited. An hour later (which happened to be 1:08 AM), still no tow truck. I called the number for the company, only to find out that our help was dispatched to the wrong city. He finally got to us around 2:15, winched us out and we could see no obvious major damage.

Just before 3 AM, Jeff & I were finally able to go to sleep.

3:04 AM, Tater starts yelling, “GET OFF OF ME!!”, over and over. Apparently he was having a pretty vivid, and possibly unpleasant dream. 15 WIDE AWAKE minutes later, we try to go back to sleep.

Now, it seems that the people across the hall from us were super excited to find out that breakfast in the hotel lobby started at 0600 because, after 2.5 hours of actual sleeping, I awoke to BANG! LOUD FOOTSTEPS!! DOORSLAM! (Rinse and repeat for the next hour.)

Hello, Tuesday. You’re here early.